UGA rewarded for being 1st to offer Trent Thompson

UGA has caught some grief over the years for waiting until “later” in the recruiting process than out-of-state colleges to offer football scholarships to some of Georgia’s top talent.

But the Bulldogs got it all right with Trent Thompson, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect for 2015, via the 247sports composite rankings.

No. 1 Trenton Thompson of Albany (247sports)

No. 1 Trenton Thompson of Albany (247sports)

Thompson signed in February with UGA, marking the first time in school history that the Bulldogs secured the country’s top recruit.

And the 5-star defensive tackle from Albany made it very clear on why he signed with UGA over his numerous other suitors, including Alabama, FSU and Auburn — the Bulldogs were the first to offer.

“They were my first offer, the first school I visited, the first coach that came down to meet me and tell me they wanted me at Georgia,” Thompson told the AJC’s Chip Towers.

“So I’ve had my mind made up ever since the first time I visited on Junior Day.”

What did Mark Richt think of Thompson’s comments about him mainly picking UGA because it was the first to offer? We asked in a recent interview.

UGA's Mark Richt (AJC/Michael Carvell)

UGA’s Mark Richt (AJC/Michael Carvell)

“I’m glad that we were the first ones to offer him, and that he fell in love with us,” Richt told the AJC. “He’s a great kid. I’m just really glad to have him. It’s a long, hard road on all the guys we recruit. But he was a guy that we targeted early, we got him committed and he stuck to it.”

More importantly, does Thompson’s very revealing comments put pressure on UGA and its scouting department to offer elite prospects from Georgia much earlier in the recruiting process?

“We have got to be on top of things, for sure,” Richt said. “We definitely have got to be able to make offers when it’s appropriate. And we’ve got to be able to recruit the heck out of these guys.”

As far as next year’s class of recruits, UGA has shipped out 126 offers, including 35 kids from Georgia, per 247sports.

In fairness to both UGA and Georgia Tech, some of the criticism that both in-state schools have received for being “late” to offer in-state kids is not deserved. That’s because many early scholarship offers (I’d conservatively estimate 80 percent) from out-of-state colleges to Georgia kids are “come to camp and earn a real offer” offers rather than a committable offer. When UGA and Georgia Tech offer an in-state kid, they are held more accountable for the offer than out-of-state schools, therefore they have to really careful, just as Florida or Miami would have to be with a Florida kid. You just can’t play loosely with offers to kids in your own state. If UGA and Georgia Tech offer a Georgia kid, and the offer is pulled for whatever reason, people in that town will remember that in 40 years, whereas Nebraska and Cal could do it and it would be forgotten next year. Anyways, we’ll discuss this more in a future blog.

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